Blacklight bleed on Samsung 40 inch TV
November 26, 2011 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Concerned about "backlight bleed" on Samsung 40" I just bought, can you help me out?

So yesterday I bought my first flat screen/HDTV set and so far am diggin' it. The exact model is Samsung UN40D5003BF.

Initially right off the bat I noticed some pretty distinct white looking cloudy / orb-like areas. The worst is in the upper left and right hand corners, but then there are some random white/cloudy areas in the middle of the screen. You can only see it when the screen is predominantly black or dark.

This drives me NUTS as I am OCD about stuff like this. Is this considered 'normal' and should I consider replacing the TV with a different model?
posted by ascetic to Technology (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The effect you're describing is the primary complaint (if they have any complaints) that people have with LED TVs. From what I've been able to research, people who are ocd-adamant about solid deep blacks across the entire screen tend to opt for plasmas.

You'll have to play with your screen settings and find an acceptable balance. Personally, I think all tvs are poorly balanced right out of the box...too bright, too saturated, and too much contrast.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:29 AM on November 26, 2011

Nonetheless, the backlight bleed should be mostly uniform across the screen. The edges might be different, but I don't think blobs is normal. Check Samsung's website; they usually have a "is this normal" section for screen quality.
posted by gjc at 6:31 AM on November 26, 2011

With modern LCD screens it's generally a good idea to kick the backlight down a couple of notches. Most LCDs have inconsistent backlights, and with most models turning down the intensity reduces or eliminates the visible variation.

Calibrate it, like Thorzdad says (if you don't have a calibration DVD, websites like this -- specifically the gamma, contrast, black level and white saturation pages -- will help if you can hook your computer up), and remember while doing so that sometimes the image that gives you the most "pop", with the brightest and most vibrant colours, is often losing you detail at the brightest end of the scale as well as making your blacks grey.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:38 AM on November 26, 2011

Here's a great lifehacker post with a DVD you can download and burn to use for the calibration procedure.
posted by msbutah at 8:26 AM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm here to tell you that you will never, ever, be happy with the particular set you have. The clouding/bleeding/flashlighting that happens with LCD/"LED" TVs drive a lot of people completely bananas.

It won't matter if you calibrate the set, install some bias lighting, perform magical acts that supposedly get rid of what you're seeing: once you see it, it's never going to go away, and you're only going to make things worse for the set and your sanity.

Things that have been tried by fifty billion OCD people of AVSForum and myself:
- full-blown hardcore calibration, attempts at "burn-in," bias lighting
- turning of CE dimming and all sorts of service mode adjustments
- turning screws of back panel to "relieve pressure" on the screen
- gently rubbing, massaging and caressing clouds in an effort to make them go away
- calling Samsung, having official techs come out and replace the screen itself, some part, some controller, etc.
- returning the set for a different set of same model, paying close attention of serial numbers.

I'll say this: SOME people get SOME sets of the same model and have NO clouding/flashlighting/etc. I've seen it with my own eyes. If you're lucky enough and patient enough to keep exchanging sets in the hope of finding another one, go for it.

The only real solution is to go plasma. I hate to say it, because plasma has some problems with it, too, namely burn-in (temporary and permanent), heat and power (they run hotter, use more power).

Somewhere in my AskMe post history are some posts about plasma/LCD. Basically, after some time and a lot of aggravation, I went plasma and never went back. Either learn to live with it, or go plasma.
posted by herrdoktor at 9:01 AM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been looking at a lot of reviews of HDTVs this Black Friday season. What I learned is that the problem you are describing is written about all over the Internet as well as Consumer Reports, as a particular problem of Samsung's new edge-backlit LED LCD technology. It is common to all edge-lit LCD LEDs, but Samsung apparently have got a real problem with it in their 2011 sets, the ones that use what Samsung calls "Micro Dimming" technology. That includes your set.

I saw a transcript of a live chat with a Samsung rep; the official solution is "turn down the backlight, wait 2 weeks," which apparently is how Samsung expresses that they are not going to deal with it. Some people don't mind it and some people can learn to live with it after some complicated deep-menu adjustments; the folks who can't stand it generally exchange their sets for a different one.

For what it's worth, the consensus seems to be that the LG and Sony backlights are the best LED edge backlights currently being produced. I haven't actually gone out to look at sets yet, so what I've written here is 100% based on Internet reviews and Consumer Reports.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 2:10 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

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